WHAT’S NEWS IN THE FIELD
In this section, current issues of importance to pupil services and special education administrators will be reviewed. These items will be replaced after a few months with other developing topics. Any comments may be attributed to the Executive Director and do not reflect an official position of the organization.
Stem Sends Memo to Regarding Participation in State Assessments (March 5, 2018)
FROM: Matthew Stem, Deputy Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
RE: Participation in the State Assessments and Parental/Guardian Rights Afforded Under Chapter 4 and Accountability Under ESSA
Date: March 5, 2018
As we approach the PSSA and spring Keystone testing windows, I would like to remind all LEAs about requirements for participation in the state assessments. The United States Department of Education (ED) continues to require participation of all students; however, in recognition of special circumstances, ED provides some flexibility for five percent non-participation. This five percent flexibility is important to Pennsylvania, as Chapter 4 regulations allow parents/guardians to have their children excused from testing due to a conflict with religious belief. Though Pennsylvania regulations permit this excusal, ED does not recognize this as an allowable reason for non-participation and all students who do not participate due to the allowance in Chapter 4 will have a negative impact on an LEA’s/school’s participation rate, and potentially achievement rate as well. (For more information, please view the webinar: https://youtu.be/kPIWKVDkqII ). The provision in Chapter 4 specifically says,
§ 4.4 General Policies.
(d) School entities shall adopt policies to assure that parents or guardians have the following:
(4) The right to review a State assessment in the school entity during the convenient hours for parents and guardians, at least 2 weeks prior to their admijn9istration, to determine whether a Sate assessment conflicts with their religious belief. To protect the validity and integrity of the State assessments, each school entity shall have in place procedures to be followed when parents or guardians request to view any state assessment. Procedures must be consistent with guidance provided by the Department in its assessment administration instructions. If upon inspection of a State assessment parents or guardians find the assessment to be in conflict with their religious belief and wish their students to be excused from the assessment, the right of the parents or guardians will not be denied upon written request that states the objection to the applicable school district superintendent, charter school chief executive officer or AVTS director.
Parents/guardians are not to be denied their right to have their children excused if they follow proper protocol. Parents/guardians must sign a confidentiality agreement form prior to reviewing the assessment. After reviewing the assessment, parents/guardians must state in writing to the superintendent, CEO, or AVTS director that they wish to have their child(ren) excused from the assessment due to a conflict with religious belief. The specific conflict does not need to be stated; simply that it is a conflict with religious belief.
LEAs and schools are encouraged to seek 100 percent participation in the assessments, but please be reminded of parents’/guardians’ rights under Chapter 4.
DeVos Proposes 2019 USDE Budget and Clarifies USDE Stance on Transgender Bathroom Use (February 13, 2018)
President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have released their proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year, which channels more than $1 billion to be spent on private school vouchers and other school choice plans. The budget proposal also calls for cutting $3.6 billion from the USDE by eliminating a total of 29 discretionary programs, including federal funding for some after-school programming for needy children; eliminating funding for the $2 billion Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants Program (Title II, Part A) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as well as the $1.2 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers program (21st CCLC, Title IV, Part B) of the ESSA; professional development for teachers; Special Olympics; and a grant program for college students with exceptional financial need. The budget proposes the deepest funding cuts to the USDE since the Reagan administration was in office.
Last year, USDE rolled back steps taken by the Obama administration that protected transgender students when it came to the right of transgender students to use the restroom at school that corresponds with their gender identity. Now the USDE, under the leadership of DeVos, has stated that it will not hear complaints about or take action on the right of transgender boys or girls to use the school restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Recently, USDE had dismissed several discrimination cases regarding transgender student bathroom use.
The reasoning now used by the USDE is that Title IX does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Similarly, access to accommodations such as restrooms, or presumably locker rooms, based on the sex of the student and not gender identity is also not considered a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Opponents to this position claim that this new policy statement is contrary to court rulings on these issues which have stated that denying transgender students appropriate bathroom access in accordance with their gender identity is a violation of Title IX.
Gov. Wolf’s Budget Proposes Increased Ed Funding (February 6, 2018)
On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, Governor Wolf delivered his state budget address to the PA General Assembly. His proposal contained a 3.1% increase over last year. The $32.9 billion proposed budget is supportive of education, highlighted by an increase in basic subsidy and special education line items; an increased investment in both career and technical education and workforce development initiatives; and an increase in funding for early childhood programs. The proposal has no major cuts in education. In fact, most other education programs would receive either an increase in funding or would be level-funded.
The budget proposal is devoid of any broad-based new taxes. However, seeking to bolster revenue, the governor called for the passage of a severance tax, in addition to maintaining the existing impact fee.
Finally, despite the $989.8 million increase in education, public schools will still be facing significant cost increases in employee pensions and special education.
PAPSA is Now on Twitter! (February 4, 2018)
PAPSA is now on Twitter! Find us at @PA_Assoc_PSA.
Celebrate National School Counseling Week (February 4, 2018)
The Pennsylvania Association of Pupil Services Administrators (PAPSA) would like to acknowledge the unique contributions of school counselors to the school program and their impact on the success of our students during National School Counseling Week, which is February 5th through the 9th. We thank them for their service, their leadership, and their professional courage in all they do for our students.
PDE Releases Tentative Schedule for Data Summit (February 1, 2018)
The Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Data Quality has released a tentative schedule for the 2018 PDE Data Summit March 25-28. The agenda can be found as an attachment in the registration link https://teampa.com/datasummit or on the PDE Data Summit webpage: http://www.education.pa.gov/Data-and-Statistics/PDEDataSummit/Pages/default.aspx. Education entities are advised to distribute to data and IT staff and managers, Business Managers, Technology Directors, Curriculum Coordinators, EL Coordinators, Child Accounting Coordinators, Special Education Coordinators, or any other interested parties. The Hershey Lodge Reservation Link: https://aws.passkey.com/go/DATASUMMIT2018. Those with questions are asked to reach out directly to Adrian Huber at PDEDataSummitTeam@Outlook.com.
Congress Extends CHIP Funding for Six More Years (January 24, 2018)
The three-day government shutdown ended with Congress voting to approve a short-term bill that will fund federal operations through February 8, 2018. It will also fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through fiscal year 2023. President Trump quickly signed the continuing resolution (CR) into law on the evening of Monday, January 22, 2018.
The CHIP program, which provides coverage to children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance, had seen its funding technically expire back on October 1, 2017, although a temporary spending bill in December kept the program going through March 2018 maintaining coverage for an estimated nine million children. Nonetheless, more than 20 states were looking at CHIP funding shortfalls by the end of January 2018.
Although CHIP is saved for six more years, the CR neglected to extend funding for Community Health Centers, which are also seeing their funding running out.
PDH Releases Winter 2018 School Health Update (January 22, 2018)
Jill Clodgo, RN, the Acting Chief of the Division of School Health at the PA Department of Health (PDH), recently released information and due dates via Penn*Link for the School Health Annual Reimbursement Request System (SHARRS) and Dental Hygiene Authorization Plan Submission.
- The School Health Annual Reimbursement Report will open for data entry May 15, 2018 and close September 30, 2018. Only the Superintendent has the capability to submit the SHARRS report. Instructions to set up a SHARRS user account, a template hard copy of the Authorization Plan, guidelines and applicable laws and regulations are available on the Division of School Health’s website at http://www.health.pa.gov/My%20Health/School%20Health/Pages/Quick%20Links/Dental%20Health/Dental-Hygiene-Services-Program.aspx#
- The Dental Hygiene Services Program Authorization Plan will open for data entry April 1, 2018 and close April 30, 2018. Any SHARRS user may submit the dental hygiene authorization plan. The Dental Hygiene Authorization Plan must be closed for data entry before the SHARRS system can be opened for data entry in order for the system to process reports correctly. Late entries will no longer be accepted as this causes errors in processing.
- The Dental Hygiene Authorization Plan is a plan for the upcoming school year. The plan must be developed by the Dental Hygienist and approved by the school dentist and school administration prior to the start of the school year. Schools that do not have a hygienist hired, a plan developed and approved will revert to a Mandated Dental Program and cannot be changed after the closing date due to processing requirements. If a school does not have a certified hygienist then they may not implement a Dental Hygiene Services Program (DHSP) and must implement a Mandated Dental Program. See the Division of School Health’s website for more information on both programs. http://www.health.pa.gov/My%20Health/School%20Health/Pages/Dental-Health-Program.aspx#
The School Health website can be accessed at http://www.health.pa.gov/My%20Health/School%20Health/Pages/default.aspx#
Jill Clodgo will be the lead presenter during the April 11th session of the 40th Annual PAPSA at the Eden Resort in Lancaster.
PAPSA to Hold 40th Annual Conference in April (January 9, 2018)
PAPSA will hold its 40th annual conference on April 11-13, 2018 at the beautiful Eden Resort in Lancaster, PA. The theme this year will be Pupil Services: No BiaS. Once again the PAPSA Executive Board has attempted to create a program that will benefit its members and promote best practices in the Pupil Services field. These are dynamic times in education, which underscores the need to stay abreast of what’s new in the areas that encompass Pupil Services.
Conference presentations will include a school health update from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Division of School Health Services, as well as programs involving equity, LGBT issues, and bias in student discipline.
On Friday, the conference will conclude with the acclaimed Paul Stevens Memorial Legal Seminar, which will address legal issues impacting special education and pupil services.
The conference will be truly beneficial to all those that are involved with Pupil Services, including such things as counseling, psychology, nursing, social work, attendance, special education, gifted education, student assistance, and related fields. Of course, topics covered are also pertinent to central office administrators such as superintendents, assistant superintendents, and directors since topics covered are centered on improving the school experience for all students.
For conference registration information available for download on this site, please go to the “Conference” drop-down under “Programs” on the menu bar or click here to download the 2018 PAPSA Conference Registration Packet.
Last-minute Measure Extends CHIP Funding (December 22, 2017)
Congress gave final approval to a sweeping spending bill Thursday (12/21/17) evening that sidesteps a government shutdown less than 36 hours before the year-end deadline and includes a short-term extension for CHIP health care for low-income kids, which had expired Sept. 30. The stopgap extends funding through Jan. 19, 2018 and passed in the House 231-188 and in the Senate 66-32.
Souderton HS Receives Special Olympics Recognition (December 15, 2017)
On Thursday, November 30, 2017, Souderton Area High School became the first school in Pennsylvania to be recognized as a National Banner Unified Champion School by the Special Olympics International. To gain such recognition Souderton had to meet 10 established standards of excellence demonstrative of a commitment to promoting inclusion. At the ceremony, the banner was presented by Tim Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics, during an all-school pep Souderton is one of only four schools in the US to be highlighted nationally through such a banner presentation. Unified Sports has teams of typical and special students who compete side-by-side in interscholastic competition. Souderton’s Unified Track and Field team won the State Championship in 2017.
PA Senate Reauthorizes CHIP (December 12, 2017)
On Monday, December 11, 2017, in a 43-6 vote, the PA Senate passed a bill to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2019. The CHIP program provides health insurance to children in financially strapped families whose income is too high to qualify for standard Medicaid programs. The bill now goes to Governor Wolf for his signature.
Re-authorization became controversial and political rankling has occurred since Governor Wolf moved to expand the program to include transgender services, which was left unchanged in the final bill.
Federal funding covers approximately 90 percent of the $450 million cost of Pennsylvania’s CHIP program and that funding is at risk without Congress approving reauthorization on the national level.
HB 1386 Looks to Reset Teacher Cert. Levels (December 8, 2017)
House Bill 1386, which was passed by the House in October, revises the scope of teacher certification levels to revert to the following levels:
- Early childhood: pre-k, kindergarten, grades 1-4 (ages 3-9)
- Elementary: kindergarten, grades 1-6 (ages 4 -11)
- Middle: grades 6 -9 (ages 11-15)
- Secondary: grades 7 – 12 (ages 11 -21)
- Specialized areas: pre-k – grade 12 (up to age 21)
- Special education: pre-k -grade 12 (up to age 21) Certification in an additional content area is not required.
The bill reverts certification levels to those prior to 2013. The bill is now in the Senate Education Committee for further consideration.
PSSA Testing Schedule is Officially Shortened for 2018-19 (December 7, 2017)
Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) will be condensed from to two weeks from three weeks. He also confirmed that the PSSA exams will take place during a three-week testing window, which will begin April 9, 2018. The later date will provide additional instruction time.
The new schedule supplements changes taking effect in 2017-18 that removes two sections of the PSSA, one in math and one in English language arts. There is also a reduction in the number of questions in the science assessment. Removing the two sections of the assessment has reduced the amount of classroom time by an average of two days in most schools. This has allowed PDE to shorten the test window to two weeks and to provide school districts the flexibility to begin the assessment as late as April 25 in future years. Since school districts have already established their school calendar for 2017-18, the new testing window will begin with the 2018-19 school year.
GAO Report Shows Voucher Programs Unclear on Disability Rights (December 5, 2017)
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported that parents/guardians of children with disabilities who are looking for an educational option outside of the public schools are not being provided the information they need to make an informed choice. Although federal law provides certain protections (i.e., a guaranteed FAPE in the least restrictive environment, access to special education, and disciplinary safeguards) to students with disabilities when they attend public school, if parents/guardians use a publicly funded voucher to enroll their child in a private school, many of those protections are no longer available. Though some parents/guardians are aware of this trade-off, the GAO contends that others are unaware of the loss of this legal safety net. The GAO also contends that many private schools are doing a poor job of making sure that parents/guardians are informed. In fact, the GAO found that about half of the private schools surveyed offered little or no information about special education services on their websites.
It is important to note that the legal protections afforded special needs students will follow the identified child if their school district decides s/he would be better off in a private school. However, when the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) initiate the move to a private school, the right to a FAPE no longer applies. This is important information that needs to be shared, and the GAO recommends that Congress pass a law requiring states to notify parents/guardians of such, since the US Department of Education says that it does not have the authority to require states to inform parents/guardians of the rights they are giving up when they leave a public school.
National High School Graduation Rate Hits All-Time High (December 4, 2017)
In 2016, the country’s high school graduation rate hit an all-time high of 84.1%, according to new data released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). It was the fifth straight year in which the graduation rate rose. The 2015 rate was 83.2%.
To come up with the graduation rate, the NCES measures the percentage of students in each freshman class that go on to earn a diploma. Greater than average gains were made by low-income and minority students. Black and ESL students gained around 1.8% over the previous year, while Hispanic and low-income students saw an increase of 1.5%. Students with disabilities also increased by almost 1%. However, white students were graduating in 2016 at a rate of 88%, which was still significantly greater than the 79% rate for Hispanics and 76% for blacks. Low-income students graduated at a rate of 78%.
House and Senate Tax Overhaul Bills Differ on How They Treat Education (December 4, 2017)
As federal lawmakers work to pass a tax overhaul package, it is important to note that the House and Senate bills have some glaring differences, as shown below:
- The House tax bill would increase the Child Tax Credit to $1,650, while the Senate bill would raise it to $2,000. The current tax credit is $1,000.
- Currently, educators can deduct up to $250 for those who spend their own money on classroom supplies. The Senate bill would double the deduction to $500, while the House bill would eliminate the deduction.
- In order to expand school choice opportunities, the House bill would alter the use of 529 college savings plans to allow those funds to be used for K-12 expenses, including tuition for private schools. There is no such provision in the Senate bill.
It is also important to note that both the House and Senate bills would allow people to deduct up to $10,000 in local property taxes.
Stay tuned to see where we end up in this highly politicized process.
PDE’s Stem Clarifies Role of Charter Schools Regarding Truancy Law (November 29, 2017)
In a Penn*Link e-mail dated November 28, 2017, Matthew S. Stem, Deputy Secretary of PDE’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education provided clarity to help address many inquiries that arose from an earlier March 2017 Penn*Link that contained initial guidance concerning the applicability and implementation of Act 138 of 2016. The latest Penn*Link states that, although charter school employees are not authorized to exercise the “police powers” available to school district employees, including law enforcement powers for filing citations, making arrests, and inspecting places of employment, charter schools do retain certain responsibilities for ensuring that students and parents/guardians comply with compulsory attendance laws, as well as to ensure that truancy prevention and elimination efforts required by those laws are implemented. In addition, charter schools must develop an attendance policy that includes providing communication and collaboration with each student’s resident school district in line with Act 138. PDE is also providing a chart on how charter schools and school districts should collaborate to implement compulsory attendance and truancy requirements. PDE will also soon issue additional guidance relating to compulsory attendance and truancy laws via a Basic Education Circular (BEC). Questions regarding compulsory attendance and truancy laws should be directed to Carol Kuntz, Director for the Office for Safe Schools at (717) 783-6469.
CHIP Re-authorization in Jeopardy: So is Health Insurance for PA Kids in Need (November 24, 2017)
In Pennsylvania, Act 84 of 2015 requires that school districts inform every parent or guardian of every student enrolled in each school district of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) on an annual basis. A popular program across political lines for more than two decades, CHIP has provided free or low-cost comprehensive health coverage to over 175,000 children up to 19 years of age in the Commonwealth. But, in Washington, DC, Congress has yet to reauthorize it, which is putting states whose funding expires soon in a quandary. In Pennsylvania, that could jeopardize health care for children in February, since CHIP’s budget runs at about $450 million in the PA, with 90 percent of that money coming from the federal government. What remains to be seen is whether political rankling regarding health care and budget issues – as well as most everything else – will put a program in jeopardy that has helped reduce the uninsured rate among children in PA to under four percent.
Annville-Cleona Program Gives Life Skills Students A Chance to Serve (November 19, 2017)
Beginning in September, Life Skills students at the Annville-Cleona Secondary School have been getting the opportunity to gain real-life skills and experience in the service world by serving others in the school’s Dutchmen Loft coffee shop. The valuable skills learned by the Life Skills students are aimed at making them employable in the future. Learning the wide range of skills inherent to operating a business has been of great benefit to student participants. The program was begun at Annville-Cleona through the school district’s Dutchmen Education Foundation and its Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, which secured a donation from the Heritage Poultry Management System. Currently, the Loft serves a variety of flavors of hot coffee, iced coffees, and hot tea, as well as iced tea, iced mint tea, hot chocolate, bottled water, and a variety of snacks including Nutri-Grain bars, white cheddar popcorn, and pretzels.
PDE Releases Career Readiness Guidance Document (November 1, 2017)
On October 23, 2017 PDE released a Career Readiness Indicator guidance document, which is the first of several communications that will offer guidance on the indicators included in the Future Ready PA Index. This document, in conjunction with the PIMS technical manual, is intended to provide administrators with information needed to accurately report accountability data on this new indicator. An LEA in need of technical assistance in career readiness implementation or evidence collection may contact the Bureau of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction at RA-EDFUTUREREADYPA@pa.gov.
PDE Expands CareerZone for Elementary Students (November 1, 2017)
In October, the PA Bureau of Career and Technical Education announced that PA CareerZone (www.pacareerzone.org), a web-based tool that enables students to explore careers and develop their own plans for achieving life goals that initially served only middle and high school students, now offers career exploration for younger students as well. Up the Ladder includes several gaming elements, including badges that reward young students for career pathways explored. Both Up the Ladder and Pennsylvania CareerZone are fully integrated into the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Career Education and Work (http://www.pacareerstandards.com/documents/career-education-and-work-standards.pdf). For additional information related to Pennsylvania Career Zone and the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Career Education and Work, you may contact Tamalee Brassington at 717.783.6972 or email@example.com.
Governor Approves Late Budget (October 30, 2017)
On October 30th, Governor Tom Wolf signed bills finalizing the overdue state budget. The package includes a massive expansion of gambling in Pennsylvania to help pay for what is said to be a “one-time” $2 billion budget deficit. The bills included provisions for the distribution of state subsidies necessary to pay the $32 billion budget that became law in July. Along with the legislation for expanded gambling, appropriations for state-related universities were also included. Of particular interest to the field of pupil services, the bill includes an appropriation under the Department of Labor and Industry for payment to the Vocational Rehabilitation Fund, which includes funding for services under the Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act.
PA Senate Rejects House Budget Plan (September 21, 2017)
The PA Senate has formally rejected a conservative budget plan passed by the House. This, in essence, restarts the negotiation process. Republicans in the House and Senate must now attempt to work with Governor Wolf, who wants the budget passed by the first of October.
PA Submits ESSA Compliance Plan to USDE (September 19, 2017)
On Monday, September 18, Governor Wolf signed off on the commonwealth’s compliance plan for complying with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The plan – which was formulated after 18 months of meetings with educators, parents, and other stakeholders across the state – was submitted to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for her approval. Now state officials must wait for USDE’s response to the plan. Initially, USDE will conduct a compliance and completeness check, followed by a peer review, an informal phone discussion; and then a formal letter will be sent laying out the federal department’s recommended revisions to the plan. All of this is expected to happen within the next 120 days. The plan establishes what PDE has described as “ambitious yet attainable” goals. Those goals include raising student performance, increasing graduation rates, having English learners move toward achieving English language proficiency, shortening state exams for third through eighth graders, establishes a new school report card that expands the indicators used to measure performance and places less emphasis on state test scores.
Deputy Secretary Stem Reports on PA’s STEM Initiative (September 13, 2017)
At the State Board of Education meeting on September 13, 2017, Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Matthew Stem reported that, over the past year, PDE has focused energy and resources on the state’s STEM initiative. As per his report, school administrators and counselors are advised that there will be an increasing need for STEM-H workers. He also said that, by 2020, over 60% of jobs in the commonwealth will require some type of postsecondary education.
State Board Provides Update on ESSA Plan at its September Meeting (September, 13, 2017)
At its September meeting, the State Board of Education reported that PA will be filing its ESSA plan with USDE on September 18. The plan is the culmination of two years of work. USDE will review the plan and PDE will then have a 15-day window to make any necessary revisions. Subsequently, USDE will provide a written determination within 120 days. Highlights of the plan include academic proficiency goals. One goal aims to cut in half the percentage of non-proficient students on PSSA and Keystone exams by 2030. Another goal is to cut in half the number of students who fail to graduate, with cohorts being both four and five years. The plan also includes a reduction in time required for standardized testing. Beginning in Spring 2018, testing time will be reduced by up to 20% across all affected grades. In Spring 2019, testing windows will be condensed from three weeks to two weeks to minimize disruption to the instructional program. Testing will also be moved to later in the school year.
K-12 Cuts and School Choice Proposals Nixed by Legislators (September 8, 2017)
On September 7, legislators in both the House and Senate have shot down Trump administration plans to use federal funds for vouchers or public school choice. Legislation passed by both the House and Senate also bars the administration from making serious cuts to spending at the US Department of Education. In fact, legislation that received bi-partisan support for the full Senate Appropriations committee requires the secretary of ed. to receive congressional approval in order to create a school choice initiative using federal funds. Current plans provide approximately $1 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and $68.3 billion for the USDE, which includes an increase of $29 million and is contrary to administration wishes.
The administration was looking to increase Title I by $1 billion to fund a new program that would use federal funding for school choice. It also wanted to provide an additional $250 million to the Education Innovation and Research program aimed at facilitating private school choice. Current spending proposals provide level funding for special education state grants and eliminate a proposed $165 million Trump administration cut to career and technical education funding.
New PA Immunization Regulations Get Underway (September 4, 2017)
New state regulations regarding required student immunizations got underway as schools opened their doors for the 2017-18 school year. Included in the new requirements is the need for seniors to have a received a second meningitis vaccine by the fifth day of school. This is in addition to the first meningitis vaccine, which is required prior to entering seventh grade. School officials across the commonwealth have been working hard to get students into compliance, and most have significantly pared down the number of students who have yet to comply with the new regs. Many students are being allowed to stay in school as long as they can provide proof that required vaccinations are scheduled with a healthcare professional, or if they have a religious or medical reason for not getting immunized. In many cases, school nurses and pupil services administrators have led the charge in helping to bring students into compliance, and numbers of students in jeopardy of being excluded from school have been greatly diminished. At the Bangor Area School District, Student Services Director Dr. Joseph Kondisko reported that there were initially nearly 500 students out of compliance. That number was whittled down to 48 by the time school began. Ultimately, only five students were excluded, but they have already returned to school. Dr. Kondisko also reported that at Bangor many parents had followed through on getting their students immunized, but held off on providing the needed documentation to the school. Please visit the drop-down titled State under the Government link on this site for more information.
Bruno to Helm NAPSA (January 6, 2017)
Dr. Frank M. Bruno, Pupil Services Director for the William Penn School District in Delaware County, has taken office as the 2017 President of NAPSA. Frank is a past-president of PAPSA and serves on its current Board of Directors. His presidency at NAPSA should further strengthen the ties between our state and national organizations. Dr. Bruno is the eighth Pennsylvanian to hold the office of President in NAPSA.
Beth Bahn to Retire (November 17, 2016)
Beth Ann Bahn, a familiar name to Pupil Services administrators, who has guided the PA Department of Health’s Division of School Health Services for many years, has announced her retirement as of December 31, 2016. Beth has been a featured speaker at PAPSA conferences and has worked closely with the association on health-related issues. It is uncertain when or if her position will be filled.
New U.S. Secretary of Education (February 22, 2017)
The question of, “Who will be the next U.S. Secretary of Education?” Ahas been answered.Betsy DeVos is a noted activist, favoring school choice, vouchers and the common core curriculum. A non-educator with degrees in Business Administration and Political Science from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, DeVos is a billionaire through her marriage to the heir to the Amway fortune. As Chair of the Alliance for School Choice and the Michigan Republican Party, DeVos has pushed an agenda to strip funding from public schools in favor of charter and private education. The NEA has issued a statement that she has, “Done more to undermine public education than support students.”
Executive Director Selected (June 8, 2016)
Dr. Douglas Arnold has been selected as the Executive Director Elect for PAPSA. He will serve a one-year internship with current Executive Director Bob Cormany before taking over on July 1, 2017. Doug has been a Past-President of both PAPSA and NAPSA. He previously served as Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Services in the East Stroudsburg Area School District and retired as Superintendent of the Pleasant Valley School District in Monroe County. Doug was interviewed at the April 2016 Conference in Lancaster and his appointment was finalized at the Board’s June 23rd meeting.